Being a bit fed up with music as "reactive noise" ("God man, the world's a drag, let's play loud and drown it out"), I was sort of set not to dig this LP, but I had to. Hendrix is a good musician and his science fiction concepts surmount noise. There isn't really a concept (no Sgt. Pepper trips here)instead there's a unity, an energy flow. The LP opens with an electronic track using tape loops and phasing (think of "Itchy Coo Park" by the Small Faces for an example of phasing) called "And the Gods Made Love." Hendrix said in an interview,... Read More
"We knew this was the track that most people will jump on to criticize, so I put it first to get it over with."
The "I" in that sentence is trueHendrix produced and directed these sides himself. Following is "Electric Ladyland," a fairytale trip that serves as introduction to the rest on the LP; "I want to show you the angels spread their wings." Next is "Crosstown Traffic," a stomp under with a heavy beat. "90 miles an hour is the speed I drive, girl," sings Hendrix as he compares the woman with a traffic jam"It's so hard to get through you."
Then a live cut, which sounds as though it was recorded late at night in a small club, at one of the jamming sessions Hendrix is known for. It features Stevie Winwood on organ and Jack Casady on bass, and is called "Voodoo Chile." It begins with a very John Lee Hooker-like guitar intro, and keeps a blues feeling all the way through, although Hendrix's lyrics ("My arrows are made of desire/From as far away as Jupiter's sulphur mines") are a far cry from "Rolling Stone" (the Muddy Waters song that's an ancestor to this track, as well as a lot of other things). After some feedback screech, a listener says "Turn that damn guitar down!" and the track ends with Hendrix and a chick discovering that the bar in the club is closed. "The bar is closed?" she says unbelievingly.
But yes it is. Side B opens with a song by bassist Noel Redding, "Little Miss Strange," probably the most commercial of the numbers included. Basically hard rock, the best thing about it is some nice unison guitar lines, probably an overdub, unless Hendrix has grown another couple of arms. "Long Hot Summer Night" is next, a song set in the "Visions Of Johanna" scene, although Hendrix has a way out"my baby's coming to rescue me." An Earl King number, "Come On," follows. Mostly rock/soul, the guitar break in the middle is one of the nicest things Hendrix has done.
"Gypsy Eyes" begins with a drum thumping, a simple bass line and a compelling guitar line, it's a light groovy tune that really sticks to your synapses. (If it was possible to hum or whistle Hendrix, this would be the tune you'd most likely do.)
The side ends with "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," which was Hendrix's last single in England, released a year ago this summer. It's a freaky ballad, with particularly nothing lyrics and on the whole a drag ... it goes nowhe